25 Bizarre Mythical Creatures Inspired By Real Animals

Posted by , Updated on April 20, 2017


The human imagination is endless, taking an animal and reshaping it from fear or fascination. We want to believe these mythical creatures exist because they scare us, fascinate us, or cause us to wonder what else is out there. Sometimes they’re made up out of thin air, but more often than not, they’re inspired by real animals. Curious about what these real mythical animals are? Here are the 25 Bizarre Mythical Creatures Inspired By Real Animals.

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The Kappa

Hokusai_kappaSource: http://www.onmarkproductions.com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

The Kappa is from Japanese mythology said to be something of a trickster found in lakes, ponds, and springs. It’s said to be based upon the Japanese Giant Salamander.



Hirokawa_KaijinSource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaijin_(cryptid), Image: https://zh.wikipedia.org (public domain)

Another mythological sea monster living in Japan, the Kaijin is mentioned during the Edo period as being partly a man with chin hair and eyebrows. Some theorize this was inspired by a sealion.



MapinguariSource: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com

Coming from Brazilian mythology, the Mapinguari are described as having lizard-like skin, one eye, and long claws. In 1937, there was a report of the Mapinguari going on a killing spree, slaughtering 100 cows. Researchers believe it is inspired by prehistoric giant ground sloths.


Black Shuck

dog-german-shepherd-silhouette 1Source: http://www.eadt.co.uk, Image: publicdomainpictures.net (public domain; modification: added red eyes same license)

In England, the tale of Black Shuck goes all the way back to 1577. It’s supposedly a large, black demon dog with red or green eyes like saucers. Recently, excavators believe they’ve found the large bones of a black dog they think might belong to Black Shuck.


Mongolian Death Worm

AllghoikhorkhoiSource: http://www.livescience.com

Sounding like the title of a horror novel or a name for a metal rock band, the Mongolian Death Worm is a mythological creature out of the Gobi desert. It’s said to be able to spit venomous poison at its victims, and if that doesn’t do the trick, it’ll electrocute you. While there hasn’t been any evidence of a Mongolian Death Worm, researchers believe it is based upon a worm lizard.

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